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129I/127I and 14C/12C depth profiles were compared for the surface 30-cm layer of soil samples (Andisols) collected from Shimokita Peninsula, northeastern Japan, in November 2005. The 129I/127I and 14C/12C profiles have a clear correlation, even taking into account that the data include samples collected from different sites with different surface histories. These results, and considering that 14C/12C can be regarded as a proxy of the original depth in stable soil, show the diversity of the 129I/127I ratio at the surface among the sites, indicating variations in the thicknesses of the layers recently removed. At one of the sampling sites (P003-1), the Δ14C value measures ∼110‰ near the surface, which is indicative of anthropogenic 14C produced by atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons during the late 1950s and early 1960s. This site has experienced no disturbances for at least the past 50 yr. The relatively high activity of 129I (0.8 mBq/kg) and the 129I/127I ratio (7 x 10–9) observed at the top layer of this site can be considered a “representative value” when considering the anthropogenic iodine transfer from the atmosphere to the ground. The observations also support 2 separate modes of 129I migration in the soil: i.e. “topmost quick diffusion” and “subsurface relatively slow migration process.” Even in the “subsurface relatively slow migration zone,” the 129I/127I ratio was still orders higher than the pre-anthropogenic natural level.
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